Here at Everest Horology, we love Rolex watches and their creative Rolex design features. One particular unique design feature is more than 90 years old, known as the Rolex Oyster case. This still is an innovative design which Rolex created to ensure a water-tight and dust proof watch. This type of technology and engineering was incredible for the time. Even today, the Oyster Perpetual case design is being refined to allow for Rolex watches to go to farther depths without damage to the movement or other workings of the Rolex watch. What is surprising is that the design is only being modified slightly to advance the Rolex Oyster case to deeper depths.
Historically, it could easily be debated that without the Oyster Rolex case design, Rolex would not have been nearly as successful. The history is quite intriguing about the Oyster case and the other design elements that have been named “Oyster” by Rolex. In 1926, Rolex patented the Oyster case design, which still has only experienced minor changes. It started with the brilliant and amazing foresight of Hans Wilsdorf, one of the original owners of Rolex.
Wilsdorf knew that if he could create a water-tight watch case, he would successfully conquer the watch world. In 1925, two Swiss watchmakers named Paul Perregaux and Georges Peret applied for a Swiss patent for a screwed stem watertight system. Wilsdorf studied their designs, and along with a screw down caseback that was sealed with a rubber gasket, he created a simple but perfect water-tight case. He purchased the patent to the screw down crown system from Perregaux and Peret. Wilsdorf named it simply the Rolex Oyster Case. This design has been the cornerstone of Rolex’s success over the last ninety years and has become an icon of style and sophistication. We explore additional Rolex technology advancements here.
Additionally, the Oyster namesake has been applied to other Rolex designs. The clean, simple Rolex steel strap, known as the Oyster bracelet which we explore more about Rolex bracelets here, also carries the Oyster name. The Oyster clasp that attaches the two sets of Oyster bracelet links and Oyster bezel also have been graced with the Oyster name sake. The Rolex Oyster has stood the test of time, and Hans Wilsdorf’s vision is still alive many years after his passing. But, this wasn't the only legend he left behind. See more about his legacy here.